A Panic Placated

By June 22, 2015 Daily Pontification, Domesticus Insulae

ShuckcullentsSince moving from our one-bedroom Silver Lake apartment to a small Mount Washington home, increased water and energy use has been a concern. So much so I recently dreamt I had left a hose on in the garden, the idea of water being wasted worthy of my subconscious to burden my sleep with sweaty brow panic. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken upon myself to try to keep the surrounding trees alive with a watering stake to directly reach the roots, but every time I turn on the tap I think of the drought and the luxury of clean water on demand, any use connected with a pang of guilt.

Our first water and power bill arrived recently and I was relieved to be informed by Emily that our total use is actually far below the average. In fact, if these figures are correct, we’re only using about 1/4 the average of the typical LA resident. It’s a welcome surprise discovering a small house can be comparatively efficient to an apartment, but those figures underlines our city as a whole has a long way to go in regards to water/energy efficiency (for those seeking some help about recommendations for reducing water use, check out the Home Water-Energy-Climate Calculator)

It helps our place is small, there’s no lawn, we cool the home with natural circulation and ceiling fans instead of AC, I’ve been switching all of our lighting to LED, and we’ve been trying to reuse greywater for the garden as much as possible (bucket by bucket in some instances). Our big project for the next few months – years – will be to convert the front and backyard into a drought tolerant landscape, one which also invites pollinators and stabilizes the surrounding hills from soil erosion. In comparison being water efficient inside seems much simpler than changes and work required outside.

And yet we’re living comfortably, underlining conservation doesn’t mean a life of wanting. It seems all of those “if its yellow, be mellow” and “shower every other day” practices have merit.

The Planetary Paintings of Stella Maria Baer

By June 16, 2015 The Design Drawer
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Stella Maria Baer‘s paintings of celestial bodies exert an undeniable gravitational pull, each watercolor hinting at an opportune coffee stain abstraction envisioned into something more astronomical. Each of her paintings are an evocation of her memories of the Santa Fe high desert where she grew up – “the lines, the color, the space” of each piece tinged by the vast open lands of New Mexico’s wild.

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Attaining Affluence Through Simplicity

By April 12, 2015 Daily Pontification, Miscellaneous, Slider
Photo: Gregory Han 2010 / Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art

As we begin readying to move from our home of the last four years in Silver Lake to a new abobe just a few miles away at the start of next month, the process of determining what to keep, donate, sell, gift, and dispose of has begun in earnest. It can be an arduous process for those who feel an innate connection with memories through the physical. For there lays a fear for many of realizing the axiom, “out of sight, out of mind”…that by throwing out any given box of possessions which help maintain the gossamer of recognition to who we once were might otherwise be severed.

But as we only have so much time in the day, so much energy to expend, so much attention to focus, I believe our minds and hearts only have so much emotional expanse for the storage of memories worth safekeeping. This obsessive nature of keeping everything – so prevalent in American culture – is tied to the subconscious worry that yesterday will forever be better than tomorrow, rationalized further by the perception tomorrow’s necessities should dictate how we live today (e.g. “I might need that one day”).

Still: “The Postman Dreams" / Prada

By letting these “things” we accumulate for the promise of attention and use tomorrow, we’ve hampered our own potential to realize unexpected possibilities only presented when our life’s canvas is blank, versus one already obfuscated by the scribbles and splotches of yesterday’s idea, memories, and worst of all, possessions. The true significance of memory isn’t in these singular snapshots delivered by owning and keeping, but the imprint they’ve left upon on us in ways that truly matter during the time they’re with us: how we live, love, and even hurt. For the memories we most cherish are those that clarify, not complicate. And so should it be with those things we bring into our homes…or leave behind.

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“So it is important to work at finding interest in simple things, in noticing things and being curious, in looking for connections, significance, puzzles, meaning, explanations. The more able one is to do this, the richer one’s world is. The more things that catch your attention and interest and prod questions and connections as you go about, the more meaningful everyday experience is. If only big, expensive, spectacular things grab your interest, you will be much less often interested in anything. This can be put in terms of openness, awareness, sensitivity and the capacity to be observant. Some people notice things that might have gone unseen, or realise there is significance and meaning in things others might miss. We adult humans have a strong tendency to get bogged down in a normal, everyday, routinized, take for granted consciousness that makes us oblivious to the wonders and miracles all around us. ‘That is only an ant.’ ‘That is only a daisy.’ But some people are struck by what they run into and see in them interesting aspects to mull over.”

Ted Trainer / 2015 Simplicity Institute Report

In Defense of Architecture

By April 1, 2015 Daily Pontification, The Design Drawer

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In the late 1990’s industrial designer Duncan Jackson fell in love with the Napoleonic defense towers built in the early 19th century, enamored by their history and the intricate and durable brickwork designed to endure unwelcome guests. Jackson was able to buy one of the towers situated overlooking the sea in Suffolk and decided it was to be reborn as a residence. Referred to as Martello Tower Y, the military tower was renovated with painstaking detail into a residence, the project a partnership with Billings Jackson Design and Piercy Conner Architects, no small feat considering the original structure is comprised of solid bonded brick walls 3 meters thick built to withstand artillery fire from naval attack. It’s an outstanding example of re-envisioning vernacular architecture for a lifetime a hundred years forward instead of sentencing it to the role of historical ruins, all the while honoring the landscape it sits upon.

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The Hands of Grand Central Market

By February 7, 2015 Daily Pontification, Miscellaneous

I found myself most drawn not to the newest arrivals in Grand Central Market (though I wholeheartedly welcome their arrival), but those with hands and faces which seemed to match the history of the interior…the exchanges between those selling foods and those there to consume it.

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Elation for Precipitation

By January 30, 2015 Daily Pontification, Miscellaneous

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Opening the kitchen window, I could feel raindrops hitting my skin with the force of a typewriter’s typebar striking paper – pitter-PAT-punctuation – the air smelling strongly of petrichor, the percussion of palms and the umbrella of fig leaves struggling to stay erect under the relentless downpour. And as immediate as its arrival, so sudden was its disappearance.

We hope you come again soon, Odinson…we need more rain.

Dream Stream: Mision (Canu Remix) – Sobrenadar

By December 31, 2014 Daily Pontification, Miscellaneous
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Paula Garcia and Javier Medialdea making beautiful music together as Sobrenadar.
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Looking Back Through the Window

By December 31, 2014 Daily Pontification

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My path has not been determined. I shall have more experiences and pass many more milestones. – Agnetha Faltskog

There’s so much to cherish when reflecting upon the memories of 2014 (I turned 40, I got married after 13 years of blissful companionship with the woman I love, I set off on a new career path working for inspiring and supportive people, became friends with a whole new world of creatives who’ve inspired me with their work and spirit, traveled to Kyoto, Paris, and to the New York countryside (by helicopter!).

If 2015 tops this year’s significance, it shall be one helluva ride I will be looking forward to.

An Earthen Awakening

By December 8, 2014 Slider, Trails and Tribulations
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We hiked this weekend lured by the smell of damp soil after the epic Southern California rainstorms, hoping to find fruiting chanterelles. We didn’t find those golden Cantharellus californicus in my secret spots, but I did return to my favorite tree to find a young and pristine lion’s mane growing where I last harvested it. I had to balance Emily upon my shoulders – while unwittingly awakening a slightly groggy rattlesnake from its burrow just a few feet away – but we returned home with a beautiful specimen and the memory of a Sunday well spent outdoors together as husband and wife.

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A Body At Unrest

By September 7, 2014 Daily Pontification
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I’ve begun writing for San Francisco-based culture site, The Bold Italic. I’ll be focusing on the odds and ends of Los Angeles happenings with the philosophy of, “why the fuck not?” My latest story is about a secret waiting atop of the highest hill of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, guarded, yet open to the public several days of the week.

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